The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many aspects of life, including where people want to live. According to a recent survey, more and more people in Finland are dreaming of living in the countryside. The survey asked over a thousand Finns about their desire to move to rural areas, and the results showed a significant increase in interest compared to a similar survey conducted in 2019. Nearly half of the respondents (44%) would like to live in the countryside, either having already planned a move or desiring one.

This equates to approximately one million adult Finns. On the other hand, four out of ten respondents prefer to live in the city. The survey also found that young people are also interested in moving to the countryside, with 46% of them wishing to do so. However, work was identified as the primary factor keeping people in cities.

The survey was conducted by the Finnish Village Association, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), and the Maaseudun Tulevaisuus newspaper. The results showed that 44% of the respondents want to live in the countryside. Around one in five (17%) were seriously considering it, and just over a quarter (28%) would like to move to rural areas if it was a realistic possibility. Meanwhile, 41% of respondents are not interested in moving to the countryside, and 15% were unsure.

About 40% of Finland's workforce can work remotely. Many Finns dream of having a home office, backyard, and a life closer to nature. However, many policymakers are attempting to make rural living and settlement more difficult. Despite this, the allure of living close to the countryside remains strong. "We need sustainable housing and planning policies that respond to Finnish aspirations. We also need experiments, such as a regional student loan repayment trial, to move highly educated workers in Finland," said Aleksi Koivisto, Executive Director of the Finnish Village Association.

Men are more interested in living in rural areas than women. Over a fifth of the men surveyed were seriously considering moving to the countryside. Meanwhile, only one in ten women had seriously considered it. When those who were interested but whose life situations were not yet suitable were included, the percentages rose to 47% for men and 41% for women.

The survey found that young people were also interested in moving to the countryside, with almost half (46%) of them wishing to do so. Fourteen percent were seriously considering it, and 32% would be interested if it were possible to move to rural areas.

The interest in moving to rural areas is higher in the north and east of Finland. One-third of respondents living in the Helsinki metropolitan area (35%) are interested in moving to the countryside, while 43% of those in Uusimaa are interested. The survey found that work was the most significant obstacle to realizing dreams of moving to rural areas, particularly for those living in southern Finland.

According to Johanna Niilivuo, an expert in rural migration at the Finnish Village Association, the increasing number of people working remotely has freed many from city life, as evidenced by the nearly tripling of the number of migration-gaining municipalities over the past few years.


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